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Machining a Metal Panther

By Open Mind Technologies Press Release
The panther, which is about 20" 500mm in length, was machined from an aluminum block in just under 13 hours.

OPEN MIND Technologies AG, a developer of CAD/CAM software solutions worldwide, announced it teamed up with HAIMER, Igenhausen, Germany to take on the challenge of five-axis machining a panther out of aluminum. HAIMER is a partner of the German Hockey League’s Augsburger Panther Professional Hockey Team. As a market leader that designs, manufactures and sells high-precision products including tool presetting machines, solid carbide cutting tools, toolholders and more to metalworking manufacturers in a wide range of industries, HAIMER had the tooling aspect well covered. Dedicated to using the most advanced high-end technology, HAIMER contacted its longtime CAD/CAM software partner, OPEN MIND Technologies, Wessling, Germany for its hyperMILL software suite and programming expertise. OPEN MIND proved it was a choice for programming complete freely shaped contours required on the panther.

It took the HAIMER and OPEN MIND team approximately three intensive weeks to complete the first free-standing panther. Once the machining parameters were in place and optimized, the approximately 20" (500 mm) long panther was machined in just under 13 hours. In addition to being proudly showcased by the Augsburger Panther hockey team, the panther model will be on display in HAIMER and OPEN MIND trade show booths at future events.

OPEN MIND Manager of Global Engineering Services Christian Neuner explained, “A model such as this one was a great opportunity to put the versatility and flexibility of our software to the test. hyperMILL has a wide range of functions that allow CAM users to truly optimize a machine’s capabilities to achieve the desired goal, including making intricate, challenging parts.”

Jakob Nordmann, application engineer at OPEN MIND worked with HAIMER Applications Engineer Daniel Swoboda to develop the ideal programming and machining infrastructure. Due to the extremely detailed mouth and incisors, and the long and thin shape of the filigree tail section, two set-ups were required on a linear five-axis DMG MORI HSC70 machining center. A four-flute cutter with a corner radius from the Duo-Lock HAIMER MILL Alu series was selected for the roughing, and tor the finishing process, the full radius version of the solid carbide end mill from the HAIMER MILL Alu series was used because of its micro-geometrical properties, which are designed for smoothness and top surface quality.

“For especially detailed areas, such as the mouth and tail section or with the creases of the joints, we generated additional surfaces that can be combined with the STL network in hyperMILL," said Nordmann. For this, hyperCAD-S, the ‘CAD for CAM’ system specially designed by OPEN MIND to help meet all the needs of programmers, was used.

Equally imperative for milling the panther was the hyperMILL VIRTUAL Machining Center, a process-safe NC simulation solution where virtual machine movements fully mimic real movements and ensure reliable collision detection. The VIRTUAL Machining Center pre-emptively recognized that the component could not be processed in a basic orientation due to X-axis limits and automatically generated a solution for a workable position.

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